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Ipswich "ticks all the boxes" for NBL side

BIG TIME BECKONS: Ipswich Force’s Martin Iti in action against the Bundaberg Bulls.
BIG TIME BECKONS: Ipswich Force’s Martin Iti in action against the Bundaberg Bulls. Mike Knott

IPSWICH remains in contention to get a side in the National Basketball League (NBL) next season with the code's leading administrator saying the city "ticks all the boxes".

NBL CEO Fraser Neill was in Brisbane yesterday to launch the upcoming pre-season competition where he gave a 98% assurance the code would have a national side in the greater Brisbane region by the 2015-16 season.

As revealed by the QT in May, Mr Neill has met with Cr David Morrison, officials from Ipswich Sports House and Ipswich Basketball Association interim president Julie George to discuss the viability of an Ipswich side or a combined Ipswich/Logan team.

Mr Neill was also taken on a tour of the basketball stadium in Bundamba.

He was yesterday effusive in his praise of Ipswich's chances of securing a licence.

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"They're definitely in the mix," Mr Neill said.

"With basketball ...you can play in smaller stadiums and one of my ambitions is to take the game to the people, which is certainly what we're doing in Melbourne.

"The ability to take the game to regional centres is our aim."

While the Ipswich basketball stadium is not up to NBL standard now, Mr Neill said it could be upgraded.

"We've looked at the facility and there's a fair bit of work to do to get it up to the required standard. The size is fine, it's just getting the seating put in and everything else," he said.

"It's next to the train line, it's got lots of public parking, it ticks all those boxes.

"It's got a great sporting history of great sporting people coming out of Ipswich and it's something we want to aim for down the track."

Cr Morrison said harnessing the combined resources, supporter base and sponsorship opportunities of Ipswich and Logan would be the key to securing a side.

Logan already has a stadium that has been previously used to host national league games.

"Just like what has been done with cricket, there is a possibility of combining Ipswich and Logan together," Cr Morrison said.

"We could certainly provide the training facilities, and we have the talent.

"Logan has a stadium, but we don't currently have a stadium of the magnitude of what they are talking about for the NBL.

"There is nothing on the council's five or 10 year rollout at the moment to allow that to happen, but there may be a chance to partner with a university or Basketball Ipswich, and that is something we need to talk about."

Topics:  ipswich force (basketball), national basketball league, queensland basketball league



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